BOCA RATON, Fla – Patients at a South Florida hospital are voicing concerns after a contract with UnitedHealthcare ends. Effective July 1, the Boca Raton Regional Hospital terminated its contract with UnitedHealthcare and United’s commercial and Medicare networks.
In a letter to patients before the contract expired, the hospital said United was unwilling to reimburse the hospital at “market competitive rates”, which led to the expiration of the agreement. . Some patients said they felt it almost immediately.
Three years ago, Leonard Stillman, 74, began to deal with serious kidney and blood problems. He was comforted to know that doctors at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital were looking after him. Now he is feeling frustrated.
“I think they have a certain responsibility to the older people in the area – we pay them a lot of money. Lots of money, ”Stillman said.
On July 1, the hospital announced the end of its contract with UnitedHealthcare. It was the same day that the hospital also announced a new partnership with Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida. A spokesperson said the merger had nothing to do with the expiration of the UnitedHealthcare contract.
The end of the UnitedHealthcare contract means higher “off-grid” costs for an AARP Medicare Advantage plan member like Stillman. He says his deductible limit went from $ 6,000 to $ 10,000 overnight.
“If you have a spouse who has a plan for $ 8,000 more – and God willing you live another ten years – you say you could end up paying $ 60,000, $ 70,000, $ 80,000 over and over. time.”
He also says that hospital stays now require him to pay 40% of the total cost of “unlimited days” and that his weekly diagnostic tests would cost $ 14.
“Which can add up,” Stilman added.
His option to avoid assembly costs, find another hospital and a doctor.
“It has become a business. It has become a profit center, ”said Stillman. “Just the way it is. It’s more money, ‘go pay it or find someone else.’ This is just not the way to do health care, it is not the way they have done it in the past.
WPTV sent a list of questions to a spokesperson for Baptist Health who said patient care was the top priority.
Georgi Morale Pipkin, general manager of marketing and communications for Baptist Health South Florida, issued the following statement:
We hear from you and are determined to resolve the contract with UHC as quickly as possible. Until then, our emergency department remains open and accepts all critically ill patients, regardless of insurance coverage. Additionally, we are working with physicians to postpone elective care until a resolution is reached. Until then, we encourage you to stay in touch with your doctor to ensure that your ongoing care is being followed.
We have been working with UHC for many weeks to resolve their refund issues and will continue to work tirelessly to resolve them.
It is important to note that the merger had nothing to do with the expiration of the UHC contract. This contract was concluded well before the completion of the merger. Baptist Health accepts CSU at our other facilities and we are working hard to provide the same level of coverage to our families and friends in Boca Raton.